Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hoodwinked and airplane rides

So here is my child at the dinner table with, yes, a pair of tights on her head. She wore them like this for quite a while this afternoon. Her reason for doing this: they made excellent bunny ears. She was telling me how long the ears were and how much she liked them. The hubby comes home and we sit down for supper. Sophie is totally focused on her food as Joe was intentionally staring at her. He wanted to see if she would notice him. He leaned in closer...still no response. **enter background info** Our family loves the movie "Hoodwinked". It's a great little animated movie about the "true story" of what happened to Little Red Riding Hood. We've been watching it lately and I just crack up. The wolf character is hilarious. Reminds me of Fletch. Anyway, on one part Little Red says, "You crazy wolf!" I would give you a little more context, but it would take forever.**back to dinner at our house** Joe continues to try and get our bunny-eared daughter's attention when, totally randomly, she looks at him and says, "You crazy wolf!" I guess you had to be there...but I thought it was hilarious! Dinner time was not the only adventure we had today. At school Bethany suggests that we take a "trip" to Hawaii. She wanted to make sure we took an airplane ride. I thought that sounded fun and have never been opposed to being spontaneous. : ) So I dug out those little airplane travel packs and ticket stubs that I've saved for some reason. The girls were able to have their own personal eye mask. Way back when they were actually free!
Here we are disembarking. We had to gather our bags and Bethany had her baby and her stroller. Boy, did that bring back memories!
After we went to Hawaii, I decided that we should fly to Thailand, too, to visit my former country of residence. I taught them how to wai (bow with their hands) and say "sawasdee kha" (hello in Thai). I also got to remember a few of my old Thai phrases and say them to the girls. What fun! But alas, before we could stay too long it was time to fly home. We got our bags, got on the plane, and headed back.
There's never a dull moment. I wouldn't change it, either!

God bless!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's cookin'?

Ok, friends, I'm pretty excited because I'm mentioned on Tamera Alexander's blog ( today! When I saw her post last week that had a recipe for a Weight Watchers key lime pie, it brought back my memory of a Weight Watchers Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter pie that I had made in the past. Ya'll...this pie is out of sight! I wish I could think of an even better way to say how good it is. I haven't made it in a while (still doing the no sweets at all thing), but if you're looking for a healthier chocolate/peanut butter alternative, this is a good option!'s the recipe! (source: Weight Watchers)

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie Recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter

4 oz light cream cheese

4 oz fat-free cream cheese

12 oz fat-free sweetened condensed milk

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup lite whipped topping, thawed if frozen

5 Tbsp mini chocolate chips, divided

6 oz pie crust

Directions: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together peanut butter and both types of cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in milk and lemon juice; fold in whipped topping and 4 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips. Spoon peanut butter mixture into prepared pie crust; sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips over top. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Slice into 10 pieces and serve. Dig in!

Weight Watchers Points = 7 (WW Points)

One thing I do, but it would probably add a point or two, is just buy the low fat cream cheese and use it instead of light and fat free and using half of each. It depends on you...both ways taste good. I just like to save a few bucks and not have any leftover cream cheese! Hope you enjoy!

I'm all set, too, to put some chicken in the crock pot for supper tonight. Need something easy? This is a great recipe! Three ingredients:

chicken (I used boneless/skinless breasts)

1 can cream of chicken soup with herbs (be sure to get it with herbs!)

16 oz sour cream (I've used 8 oz before because I didn't have enough and it was fine, too!)

Mix the soup and sour cream together and pour it over your chicken in the crock pot. If you have a good bit of time, you can cook it on slow for several hours. Not much time, I do it about 2 1/2 hours on high...sometimes 3 hours.

Hope you enjoy! Be sure to check out Tamera's blog! It's great : ).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sophie sings...sort of : )

This is Sophie's church choir class. When the kids turn three, they're old enough to participate in children's choir on Sunday nights. Honestly, I am still sort of in shock that my baby girl is old enough! I remember seeing other little kids in the church doing this when Sophie was a baby and thought, one day she'll be doing this. I never thought it would be this soon! This was their second performance. The funny thing was that in between songs, Sophie came off the stage, ran over to me (as her teacher's were, Sophie, we're not done!) and gave me a hug! I was laughing along with the rest of the congregation. It was so sweet, though. If I think about it too much I might get teary! Anyway, here's a short video of the second song. I couldn't help but child's little personality is one of a kind! As you can tell, she does a little more than sing! Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The race

Wow...what a day!
Here were are, running the race. My friend, Leslie, is right there by my side, helping me keep going, encouraging me and helping me when I needed to slow down, and then got me back going again.

Here's me, Les, and Sophie before the race got started.

I feel like I just have to take a moment to talk about stuff. I'm sitting here, pretty amazed at God's goodness in my life. Despite my crazy week, I was reminded today how much I have to be thankful for. There are so many things in my life that I have been blessed, a home, provisions in several different forms, and so much more. Today, though, the "stuff" I wanted to talk about is friendships. God has blessed me with some incredible friendships over the years. Several of which I still keep in touch with even today. I could go on and on about these women because they're all pretty great. Today, though, I had a new experience with a friend. You see that lady up in the picture with me? Well, she's one of my newest and closest friends. Her name is Leslie and I feel so blessed to have her in my life! We began our friendship as more of a mentor/mentee situation. She has wisdom about eating right, exercise, and walking with the Lord, and other areas that I really wanted to grow in. Then our friendship grew into one of the closest I've had in several years. Last summer, for the first time, I started trying to run. She encouraged me along the way, giving me tips and things to try. We were working towards a race. Today was race day. Now Leslie can run a mile and a 5K with no problem, but today she ran right next to me. She didn't care about getting a certain time or winning, she was there to support me. When I needed to slow down, she gave me tips and encouraged me. When I wasn't sure if I could pick it back up, she got me going. We even sprinted to the finish. As she said, "there are a lot of metaphors to life" when you think about this whole race thing. Today I'm just bursting with gratitude and love for a friend who will stick right next to me and run the race of life with me, giving me advice, praying for me, hanging out, and so much more. I hope we'll have many years of running the race together!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Racing and Reading

Let me tell you...this week has been crazy! My kids have been having issues, we've been to the doctor, to the grocery store, t-ball practices (more about this later), the Cherry Blossom festival in Macon, and the hubby has been having some health issues, too. Thankfully nothing major, but it's made for a crazy week! the midst of all of that, along with my sleep deprivation (and if I'm going to be honest here, my irritiability as a result of said sleep deprivation and stress), God is good! He knew I would having this kind of week, and He sent me a blessing today. Well, let me go back a little. I've been following a blog about writing (more on that later, too) and I love it! I love to read, as you all know, and I've recently been interested in writing some, too. This blog has a lot of great tips and info. for writers, by writers. To make a long story short, I commented one day when they were having a giveaway by Julie Lessman (Christian historical fiction author). To my surprise...I won the giveaway! I couldn't believe it! I was very excited. I won an autographed copy of Julie's book, A Passion Most Pure. Today I got it in the mail, along with a note from Julie and a message written in my book. I think God's timing is so amazing.

I don't have to tell you how excited I am to read my first Julie Lessman book!

One more thing. Tomorrow is a big day! I'm running in my first ever race. This is huge for me! The hubby, the kids, and I will be heading out early in the morning to Albany so that I can have this experience with one of my best friends, Leslie. She had been encouraging me, helping me prepare, motivating me, and so much more. I am so thankful that I get to share this with her! Since this is my first race, we're going to start with just the 1 mile....but 1 mile is big for me! Please pray for me! I want to have a good time and do my very best! Pictures will be coming...for sure! : )

Sunday, March 20, 2011


My new favorite pasttime...watching the Christy series from years ago on DVD. I recently saw some clips on You Tube and fell back in love with the story. I had remembered it somewhat from when it first came on, but seeing the clips sparked my interest again. Then the other day my Mom called and said she bought the whole series on DVD and said I could borrow it. I was excited, but didn't really know if I'd like to watch ALL the episodes, but I started with the first one anyway. it! I read the book a few years ago and it was good, but I really love seeing how they've adapted it It's wholesome, romantic, they actually talk about scripture and God, and the acting is so much better (in my opinion) than the later remake.

Here is a mixed clip...enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

All about the "T"

This week has been great! Letter T has really done us right. On Monday we pitched a tent in the back yard and have tried to spend time during school each day doing something in there. I have loved it! The weather has been amazing, too, for a little outdoor education! It also brought back some great memories of the camping trip Joe and I went on back before the kiddos came along. We hope to go on one again someday...when we know the kids will not keep us up all night : ).
And here's the little turtle that Bethany brought to school. He's the black-ish circle down at the bottom part of the picture. He was so cute!
Today was really fun. I got out my table runner, placemats and matching cloth napkins (that I must admit that this is the first time I've used them!), and the adorable tea set that Sophie's grandmother gave her. I made some hot chocolate, let it cool, made some toast with jelly (I honestly didn't even realize that I was doing another "t" thing), some biscuits, and cookies. We had quite a tea party! My favorite quote from Bethany, "Mrs. Stacey, this is so fun. I am enjoying not being bothered and I'm here with my 3 good friends!" So cute! I think she was counting herself! : )
I had to include a close-up of the tea set. Isn't it cute!? I loved all of the little bunnies and flowers on it. The little spoons were cute, too. It even came with napkin rings!
And last, but not least, we capped off the day with doing our toenails! I included mine in the picture, even though I still have my pedi from a few weekends ago. I did the girls toenails in pink, "ocean breeze" which is the neat blue color, and topped it off with some sparkly polish.
Now I've got my work cut out for me trying to think up something fun for letter U! : )

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lemon Chicken...a Daniel family staple!

I looked back through some of the recipes I've posted and didn't see one of our favorites...lemon chicken! It won't hurt to post it again, though, if I just happened to miss it. This recipe is easy and very tasty. It's kind of got a tangy, lemony, mustardy flavor--but not too strong. It goes great on rice, with mashed potatoes and english peas, or, like we did last night, just some steamed veggies. If you have your chicken good and thawed, it comes out tender and moist. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
Lemon Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I've even done this with bone-in chicken)
1 3 oz package of lemon jello (not the pudding)
1/4 cup oil (I use canola..I don't think olive oil would taste too good with this)
1/4 cup yellow mustard (I used the cheap kind in the bottle)
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
*that's it!*
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in an oven safe dish (I used my big pyrex). Mix all ingredients together. Pour over chicken. Put in oven and cook for about 1 hour. You don't have to cover it. Check after an hour, and if it's got a nice golden color, it's done. (I usually cut my chicken open just to be sure..but it doesn't look as pretty all chopped up! )
Isn't that easy?! When jello is on sale, I usually buy about 3 or 4 boxes of the lemon just to have it on hand, because the other ingredients are things I typically have in stock. A definite go-to dish! God bless!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So long sugar...

My mantra for the week is...well, mantras...sugar is poison, sugar will make me gain weight, sugar will drain me, sugar is not good for me, don't eat it, don't eat it...and the mantra list goes on. It's no secret that I love sugar. I mean, just look at my posts. There are a lot about sugary goodness (wait, no, sugary badness) that I've enjoyed. I've got to say goodbye to Hello There Cupcake. At least for now. Maybe I can revisit when I've gotten control over my cravings.

So why am I doing this to myself? Denying myself something I obviously love? Well, sometimes denying yourself is the best thing you can do. I have indulged in sugar for a long time, and I've had times of victory, but there have been a lot of times of overindulgence. Some of you out there can sample a little sugar and it doesn't bother you, you can move on. With me, if I have one bite, it's like the flood gates come open. I only want more. Then I gradually get to the point where I have a little more each day until it's just expected that I'm going to have something sweet to cap off my meal. That is leading to weight gain...and I'm sure other health issues. The numbers are rising, and my discipline is getting out of control. I needed to regroup and refocus and go back to being more healthy.

Me at Hello There Cupcake (isn't it cute?!)

I've been on this current weight loss journey for over a year now and I've lost almost 35 lbs. I want to keep going. I want to lose more, but I also want to be healthy. Letting go of sugar and fighting my cravings with the truth is only going to move me forward. I've been reading a 21-day devotion called Craving God that I got for free on Amazon (Kindle for PC). God knew what I was going to be going through when I picked this freebie up. I had passed it by a few times and finally decided to get it. It's been so good. I would definitely recommend it if you're struggling with this issue.

I have to say a huge thank you to my dear friends who are helping me on this journey. Three of these amazing women have wrote me challenging and encouraging emails or talked with me on the phone about needing to get back on track and refocus on my commitment to be healthy and lose weight. I can't's tough to get words like that. But I will say that I could not do this as well as I have without their love, encouragement, and support. I am so blessed to have friends that care enough to help me like that! I love you gals!
Pray for me, friends! I'll need it. New mantra...Lord, help me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Singing Day

Bethany came up with the idea to have "Singing Day" at school this week since we were studying the letter S. I said, "sure!" So the girls dressed up, we got out the keyboard with the microphone and they took turns singing. In the first video they are both singing the "Bible Book Bop" that we play at school a good bit to learn the books of the Bible and we sang at VBS last year. The second one was so cute...I hate that it's sideways! I can't figure out how to flip it around. Anyway, I had to share it! I love the parts where Sophie says, "Hit it!" and Bethany says, "my finger chips". : ) I have so much fun with these girls! Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend wrap-up

I must say, this weekend was balm to the weary momma's soul. As before mentioned, I've never had a Mommy-only getaway, and now this may be what I ask for at every birthday and Christmas! It was great! It didn't hurt that my Mom (and Dad) treated me like a queen! My hubby also kept the house straight while I was gone! That really ministered to me, too!

So after the fabulous nail/massage night, the next day was equally as wonderful. We began by walking two miles with my grandfather, ate at Panera Bread, went to a movie (in which we got a free ticket, free popcorn, and free drinks....what?! That has NEVER happened to me before!), went looking around/shopping at the mall, and then ate with family. We also picked up some cupcakes at Hello There Cupcake! Mmmmm. Don't hate me.

The next day we slept in and I got to stop by a consignment sale. How I love consignment sales! I did not even realize that the sale I usually go to was happening this weekend. We only had a chance to stop by the last day. My thoughts were that we wouldn't find as much. Well, I found exactly what I was looking for! And the great thing is that at most consignment sales, the last day marked items are 50% off. I got Sophie several short sleeved shirts for this summer for only $1 a piece. I even got Isaac a shirt for 50 cents! You can't beat it!

Little man loves his new crocs! He was thoroughly upset when I had to take them off to give him a bath. He wanted to wear them in the tub!

I thought these were cute for little man.
Consignment sale total: for Sophie: 1 pair shorts, 2 skirts, 1 jumper, 1 UGA cheerleader outfit, 6 short sleeved shirts; for Isaac: 2 pairs shoes, 2 short sleeved onesies, 1 short sleeved shirt, 1 shorts outfit=$25 and some change
Yippee! We're set for the summer!
Now I'm back to normal life again, but I am refreshed, encouraged, and ready to start a new week! God bless!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nail Salon

This weekend is my first no kids, no husband, girl weekend. I've been away from the hubby before, but I still had the kids with me. I've been away from the kids before, but still had the hubby with me. I miss them, but I'm also enjoying myself! Tonight my dear mother arranged for a couple of us to go get our nails done, our toes done, a facial, and a neck and back massage!! One word: awesome! My back was sore from lifting kids and doing stuff around the house, and I was wishing that I could have a massage. It was divine! Exactly what I needed. My nails turned out cute, too! I got a "design" on them that makes me feel all young and cool. :D While we were there, we were talking to the technicians (?) at the place, asking them where they were from, their families, etc. There was a bit of a language barrier. I was definitely wishing that I could speak Vietnamese. But we did gather a few things from "Tina", our wonderful massage therapist. She had left Vietnam and from the little bit I could understand, I think she said that her husband and daughter were still there. My heart went out to her. She was so sweet. Even when we informed them that we were getting the "luxury" package and not the "deluxe", and they looked at each other in a concerned way and started speaking Vietnamese to each other, she was still really nice. Our experience did bring something to mind, though. If you've never seen this, it reminded me a lot of our experience at the nail salon tonight! Too funny! I think I've actually posted it before....but this one has a little extra before the nail shop bit. Hope you all have a great weekend...I already am! Girls weekend is awesome!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Ikea find

This is our bed. This is about the closest I get to making it up. I think it looks pretty good, considering most of the time it looks like I did battle with the covers the night before. Anyway, notice the pillow covers. I love these pillow covers. Not only do we have pillow covers, but we have a duvet cover to match...all for the low price of $14.99 at Ikea. Yes, only $14.99, people! At first I wasn't sure how it was going to look in our room. Before the red and white came along, I had a duvet cover and matching pillow shams made in Thailand from Thai silk. It was awesome. It was dark chocolate brown and a pretty gold color, and the big pillow shams were the same colors with additional bright color blocks on the front that matched an embroidered picture I had bought in Thailand. Honestly, when I got all of this stuff before I came back to the states, my plan was to set myself up as a hip single girl. At least that's what I was trying to do. I had no idea that less than 10 mos. after stepping off the plane I would be married. I had never even met my husband until a month after I got home. Anyway, back to the story, I loved my silk stuff, but the fabric wasn't very strong, apparently, and it kept getting rips in it. I was taking it to the seamstress for repairs and I felt like the best thing to do was just pack it away and keep it from getting messed up. So began the long search for something new. I was too cheap to buy something equal to what I had. I waited until finally I found this! I already had a red dust ruffle and I thought the color and accessories in our room would go well with the red/white, so I got it. I have been very happy with it! Here's a close up of the pattern. My camera doesn't really do it justice. It kind of has a linen look to the fabric, too. I love linen : ).
So, if you're ever in need of a nice, not too expensive duvet cover, check out Ikea! They have a lot of variety!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Q is for quilt

Here are some of our family quilts. I've mentioned before about how much I treasure quilts. I really think it's awesome what some people can do with fabric. I wish I could do it. Here are our three quilts...the two at the bottom were made by two different friends of mine. Both of them were made to celebrate Sophie's birth, but the bold colored one can be used by Isaac, too. The one in the background is my Thailand quilt.

This week we're studying Q and R together. Today we focused on Q and talked about quilts. We looked at the different quilts, the patterns, and colors. Then I gave them a piece of paper with a rectangle drawn on it with some fabric squares I had cut out.

Then the girls glued the squares onto their paper to make their own "quilt".

Here are our finished products!

Tomorrow we're planning to talk with a friend about her experience on the mission field...R is for Russia : ).